For Christmas 2014, this Canadian dad was gifted a giant box, wrapped in seasonally colored paper and topped off with a red ribbon. Inside was something very precious that he had wanted for 25 years. All of his family were there at a party to watch him open it – with one very notable exception. And, when he man finally revealed what was inside, his reaction was truly heartwarming. It brought home to everyone gathered at the party the true essence of the season.
In 2014, Terra Leanne Casey, now 31, lived and worked in marketing in Vancouver, Canada. Sadly, this meant that she lived more than 2,500 miles away from her retired dad, Terry Gibbs, who was domiciled across the country in Dundas, Ontario. Unfortunately, it also meant that Terra didn’t see her Old Man as often as she would have liked. Indeed, because she lived so far away from her father she never spent the festive period with him.
In fact, distance was just one of the reasons why dad and daughter never spent the holiday season together. Although Terra saw her fther at other times during the year, for various family reasons, they had spent 25 Christmases apart by the time the season to be jolly of 2014 rolled around. Sadly, she was just four years old the last time she had celebrated Christmas with her dear old dad. So, wanting to remedy this situation, she devised a secret plan. She even got her uncle, Rick Gibbs, involved.
Her seasonal scheme demanded a degree of deception, so the first step of the plan involved sending her father a picture to put him off the scent. On Christmas Eve, Terra sent him a landscape shot, showing the view from her apartment in Vancouver. This was to convince Terry that it had been taken that day and that Terra was still in residence on the other side of the country. Luckily, he did not spot a detail that, had he looked closer, might have given the game away. The photo was an old one and the distant mountains in the background did not have snow on them. The peaks should have been blanketed, considering it was winter.
Indeed, close attention allows viewers to hear Rick telling his brother that inside the enormous, paper-wrapped package is a very special gift. Rick adds that it is a combined present, a joint gift for Christmas and Terry’s 60th birthday. What’s more, Rick fools his sibling by employing a little white lie. He says that the family have all pitched in money to buy Terry this huge present.
Nonetheless, Terry looks somewhat confused by this large wrapped object before him. To much encouragement from everyone in the room, he cautiously unties the festive ribbon on top. Under the watchful eyes of the rest of his family, and the camera, he slowly unwraps the gift. During this time, none of them gives anything away, except to advise him to use caution as the contents of the carton are fragile.
His friends and family – reveling in the knowledge that they apparently have and Terry definitely doesn’t – continue with the deception. One dry-witted party-goer is heard waggishly saying, “I hope you like animals.” Peeling off the paper to reveal cardboard underneath, Terry sarcastically exclaims “Oh, it’s a box!” Clearly, he is still baffled by this odd situation.
When he finally rips the sticky tape off the top of the package and opens the flaps, he cries out in astonishment. There is no way he could have predicted what was waiting for him inside that gift wrapping. A very special Christmas presence, 25 years in the waiting, bursts out of the carton. A movement which leaves Terry so stunned he is unable to react properly for a few seconds.
“Oh my God!” Terry blurts out to the room as he embraces an un-boxed Terra. Despite their prior knowledge, the rest of the party are also elated by this dad-and-daughter reunion, breaking into rapturous applause. Still unable to believe what he is seeing, an open-mouthed Terry struggles to speak coherently. “I… I thought you were…” he manages to get out, before he hugs Terra again as a better way to express his joy and delight.
When, at last, Terry manages to contain his astonishment, he finds his voice once more. “How long have you been in that box?” he asks of his daughter, causing the rest of the room to burst out laughing. But while Terra said it felt like an eternity confined in that enclosed space, in fact it was only about 20 minutes.
Luckily for Terra, she had the foresight to pierce the packaging with plenty of hidden holes for air to pass through. This successfully stopped her from suffocating while she waited to finally be unwrapped. On the YouTube page, Terra added, “My uncle, being the sweet man that he is, was very concerned I wouldn’t have enough air in there.” She went on to explain, “[He] kept slightly lifting the bottom of the box with his toes to let air in while we waited for my dad to arrive.”
After being trapped in that cramped carton for so long, Terra was probably quite relieved to finally be lifted out by her dad. Again, they hugged and kissed, happy that they were finally together for the festive holiday. For the first time in a quarter of a century, Terra and her father would spend this special time together. It was to be Terry’s first Christmas with his darling daughter as an adult.
This heart-warming Christmas video ends in the most festive way possible. As Terra and her dad catch up and embrace, there is another surprise walking through the door. A man dressed as Santa enters the house, jingling bells as he walks. “Ho, ho, ho!” the Santa shouts, bringing yet more smiles to everyone’s faces. Now the party can really begin.
This gift, filmed and photographed by members of the family, can now be enjoyed by all concerned for years to come. The father and daughter duo will no doubt treasure it the most, but Terra’s uncle will most likely also cherish it dearly. Rick’s illness probably makes him appreciate moments like this even more. Terra stated, “[It was] very special that he was able to be part of this moment.”
And it is not only the family who will be able to enjoy repeat viewings of this beautiful seasonal surprise. Since sharing the video on YouTube, the footage of Terra’s magical appearing trick has been viewed more than a million times. But, not only have viewers watched the video, many have also commented on the content to tell Terra how they feel about this unique family reunion.
One YouTube user was not afraid to admit that the video brought tears to her eyes. They wrote, “This made me cry. To have an uncle who is a two-time cancer survivor, lots of family, a ‘surprise’ daughter and Santa, is so magical and beautiful. Always treasure your loved ones and spend time with them.”
However, this is not the first heartwarming story in which a daughter surprised her father for the festive season. Another YouTube viewer said as much in response to Terra’s clip. They said, “I did something similar for my dad in 2012. I moved 2,000 miles away… and thought I wouldn’t be able to get back for Christmas, as the job I had usually meant working on Christmas Day. [I] found out we weren’t going to open that day… So, I set up a plan with my mum that I would fly home Christmas Eve and surprise the family on Christmas Day.”
They continued, “My dad rang me at 6:00 a.m. on Christmas Day and I whined about why he was calling so early when I didn’t start work ’til nine and I could’ve been sleeping! The whole time I was at mum’s place. Lol. I hid in another part of the house when he arrived and had a camera turned on to catch the moment.” Like Terra and Terry’s family, it sounds like this YouTube user will always have film of an amazing and heartwarming moment to look back on.
As another commenter so perfectly explained, “The look on [Terry’s] face was priceless. You’ve given the family something to talk about for the many years to come. Best gift ever.” But what has happened in Terra and Terry’s lives since then?
Well, two years after her sensational surprise, Terra would spend another festive season with her father. Terra posted on Facebook, “On Christmas Eve, 2014, I surprised my dad for our first Christmas together in 25 years. Today, exactly two years later, the video of that surprise just crossed the one-million-views mark and my dad and I are together for Christmas once again. There is truly nothing better than being with the ones you love.”